Just a very quick recipe for a lovely seasonal dessert that’s as showy and fancy looking as it is easy to throw together – it only takes ten minutes or so to prepare, and another 20 in the oven and then it can just be left waiting patiently in its tin till you’re ready to serve it, making it a brilliant stress-free dessert option for an impromptu gathering with friends or family.
What’s so great about it is that while it’s a classic chocolate cake at the edges, the further in to the centre you go, the more puddingy it is – like a chocolate fondant in a slice. Best of all, it’s actually nicest after being left to sit for a bit so by all means make it while the oven is on for dinner and then fling it out on the counter and forget all about it for as long as you like while you enjoy that second glass of wine and the best nuggets of gossip.
CHOCOLATE FIG PUDDING CAKE
Like your dinner party conversation, this is a dessert that very much improves over the course of an evening. When you’re ready to serve it, just warm it up again in the oven for a few minutes before serving with whipped cream or good quality vanilla ice cream on the side.
If you’re feeling creative (read: moving around the kitchen somewhat tipsily), you could decorate the top with silver balls; sugared almonds; rose petals or other pesticide-free edible blooms, cocoa powder, icing sugar etc – whatever you think would be pretty. This dessert is yours to put your own stamp on, so go for it!
Full disclosure: I added a little grated beetroot to mine, and while it did add a nice earthy, almost peanutty flavour to the cake it wasn’t really necessary so I won’t bother the next time I make this. That said, if you wanted to add a little cognac or some chopped nuts to yours they’d be lovely – just stir them in at the end before transferring to the tin for baking.
170g semi-sweet dark cooking chocolate
115g salted butter
115g caster sugar
115g self-raising flour
2 medium figs, quartered
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of water
Preheat your oven to 180°c. Line a medium sized circular springform cake tin with parchment (cut short darts at a few intervals around the piece of parchment to make it easier to line the circular sides). Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a large saucepan with the water and butter over a low heat. Add the vanilla extract and sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Sieve in the flour then beat in the eggs till the mixture is smooth and glossy. Tip into your lined baking dish. Press the fig quarters into the centre of the mixture in a flower shape and sprinkle the slices with a very small amount of caster sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted around the edges of the cake comes out mostly if not completely clean; you don’t want to overbake it as these kind of cakes always cook on a bit after coming out of the oven. Once ready, leave the cake to cool in its tin for a little while if possible, as doing so will allow the figs to release their sticky juices, thereby making the puddingy bits in the middle. When you’re ready to eat, warm the cake up again in the oven for a few minutes then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.